Chance Bothe, age 21, is lucky to be alive after a terrible texting-and-driving accident. On the day of the accident Bothe was making the drive from college to his family’s home in Granado and texting a friend on the way there. Not far from home he sent his last text, “b right there.” He lost focus and his pickup drove off the edge of a bridge and plummeted 35 feet into a ravine. Although he was rescued before the pickup caught fire, he was severely wounded in the crash. He coded three separate times during his hospitalization and his litany of injuries included: traumatic brain injuries, fractured skull, broken neck, punctured lung, compound leg fractures, sternum and rib fractures as well as numerous face fractures.
Bothe has needed countless treatments including extensive facial reconstructive surgery. Since the accident in January he has been fighting to return to normalcy. He has spent months at rehab relearning how to walk. Significant brain injuries have been one of the many medical obstacles for Bothe. His father Bobby Bothe guesses that about 80% of his son’s personality has come back after the accident.
Bothe described a moment of epiphany where he went to his grandmother’s funeral and realized how close he came be buried himself. He believes he has survived for a reason. He told reporters, “What people have told me is the reason God didn’t keep you away from this Earth is because you have something special to do, and I believe what is special is that I should tell everyone not to text message and drive.” His message is short and to the point – “They just need to understand don’t do it. It’s not worth losing your life. I came very close to that. To being gone forever.”
The hard part is not just having the courage to speak it out, it’s how to find a way to get others to listen. Dr. Jacob Joseph who cared for Bothe at Memorial Hermann rehabilitation center said, “Unfortunately we’re seeing more and more patients here that had their brain injuries as a result of texting and driving… I don’t think we’re going to see a decrease in that anytime soon.”
Before his accident Bothe had some understanding of the safety risks because he texted his friend, “I need to quit texting because I could die in a car accident and then how would you feel.” He was able to recognize a potential danger but not able to fully comprehend the perilousness of his choice. Past studies have shown that many drivers think it’s dangerous for other drivers to text-and-drive but it acceptable when they do it. We must find a way to alter our driving habits and find a safer way to drive.